The Sam Can: Boston craft beer experts weigh in on Samuel Adams’ decision to can their beer

An illustration of the Sam Can. Photo via Samuel Adams.
An illustration of the Sam Can. Photo via Samuel Adams.

After years of brandishing the bottle as the best way to package premium beer, Samuel Adams will jump on a trend embraced by hundreds of craft brewers and start shelling out canned beer.

The Boston-based brewery announced today that “Sam Cans,” the result of two years worth of ergonomic and sensory testing, will be on shelves by early summer.

“In the past, I had my doubts about putting Sam Adams in a can because I wasn’t convinced that Boston Lager would taste as good as it does from a bottle. But cans have changed. And I believe we’ve designed a can that provides a slight but noticeably better drinking experience than the standard beer can,” Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams said in a statement.

Thousands of people weighed in after the brewery made the announcement on social media, and while a good number of Sam fans were on board with cans, the majority of beer lovers said they did not approve.

“You will ruin the ambiance and the taste and classiness of the beer,” beer drinker John Curran said on Samuel Adams’ Facebook page.

But according to local craft beer experts, breweries are moving away from the sleazy, shotgun stigma attached to canned beers.

“A big issue has always been the association of canned beer with party drinks like Bud Light. Craft beer makers didn’t want to associate with the light beers,” said Jeff Wharton, co-founder of Boston brew club, Drink Craft Beer. “Bottles have been seen as the best way to package beer, but in reality that is more of a perception.”

Experts contend that canning beer does not compromise the taste, and actually protects the beverage from getting “skunked” by blocking out sunlight. The portability and durability of cans is also a huge draw for consumers.

A common can complaint is a “tinny” flavor when drinking beer out of a can, but drinkers should snow that craft beers are meant to be classed up with a glass.

“If you’re pouring it into a glass, it should taste the same,” said Chris Furnari, editor of industry watcher Brewbound.com. “That’s not to say that if you’re going on a hike or to the beach you won’t drink it from the can, because you will, but that’ s why (Sam Adams) designed the Sam Can so that if consumers are going to drink it from the can they will have the best possible experience.”

Koch said he consulted experts while designing the Sam Can, which will feature a flared lip and wider top for “a smoother, more comfortable overall drinking experience.”

According to Brewbound.com, sales of canned craft beer have skyrocketed in the last few years, from $1.2 million in 2008 to $13 million by July 2012, and Craftcans.com tallies the number of canning breweries in the U.S. at 249.

“Its getting a lot bigger and it kind of makes sense,” said Wharton. “You’re going to see more and more of it happening. Cans can go a lot of places that glass just can’t.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…